Read Part One here.
Airship Ambassador: Are there any objects or things which play a major role in telling the story?
H.G. Howell: The role of kinetic imbued technology plays a major role in the story. As mentioned earlier, kinetics can control the elements and through these gifts along with the curious inventing minds of the scholarhood, devices containing elements of kinetic power exist. Most notable of all the inventions is the cortex technology. These devices are solely electrical in nature and are leading the way in phasing out steampowered technology. Cortex technology is used to power airships, horses, mechanical golems such as Gossimer’s friend, and even other nefarious uses.
AA: Ha, nefarious! Always a draw, lol. What are some of the interesting and important details within the world of Wynne?
HGH: Madness is a real ailment in Wynne. From the outside world one stricken with Madness seems no different than an individual with Alzhiemers. The difference, however, is that Madness is a key to the deeper secrets of Wynne. This is not explored too in depth in Wynne, but it is important to note.
AA: Without giving spoilers, what interesting things will readers find along the way?
HGH: Dalar’s storyline contains some fun discoveries that will have major impacts on the world of Wynne.
AA: What passage, paragraph, or scene was really memorable to write? (description of, or copy in text)
HGH: Two stand out the most. The number scene is actually the last chapter in the book. I find there is a great duality in how the story begins and finishes, but also how the scene itself plays out. The other scene is the introductory chapter of Dalar. His opening scene is one of those disparate ideas I had had for years without finding a home for it.
AA: Was there any scene-passage-text-etc that you loved but which just didn’t work and had to be cut?
HGH: I had a whole story arc for the character of Rosemary, who only gets one chapter in the whole book. It explained more of her backstory and motivations. When it came time to print I ended well exceeding the maximum page count through createspace. At first I went through and skimmed out excess fat in chapters but was still well over.
After much thought I ended up cutting two of her three chapters. This brought be to exactly even with the print company in terms of page count. In hindsight I am glad that it happened as I am able to imply and build a history for her arc in the next book where she has a much larger roll.
AA: What kind of back story is there for The Spark which didn’t make it into the final book?
HGH: For several of the characters I have written a short biography in the form of short stories. These really helped me get the feel for the individual, but also how their life would lead them to the decisions they make in The Spark. I even wrote one for the main antagonist who is nothing more than a tertiary character in this book.
AA: I’m sure readers who enjoy The Spark will want to read those shorts stories, too. When people read The Spark, what would you like for them to take away from the story and the characters that they could apply to their own lives?
HGH: Life never goes the way you want it and all you can do is take it by the horns and do your best to survive.
AA: How did elements of your own life and experiences play into The Spark?
HGH: There are a lot of elements of my own life that have filtered into The Spark. In some cases characters are inspired by people I know, or at least share a similar backstory. Thinking about it, it is rather baffling how much I’ve drawn from my own life has fallen into the story. I know this is rather vague, but there is just so much I don’t really know where to begin.
AA: What was one memorable story while writing this story? Any laugh out loud or cry in the corner moments?
HGH: The end act of Lillian’s introductory chapter has always been hard for me. I won’t go into details so as not to spoil it. When I finished that chapter I needed to break away from writing for a little bit. Even after, during the revision stages, that chapter always finds a way to hit me in the feels. Every. Time.
AA: That’s good emotional writing, and hopefully the readers will feel the same intensity. Are there any plans for a sequel or spinoff?
HGH: Both actually. Currently I am writing the sequel, titled The Searing, which takes place immediately after the events of The Spark. As of writing this I am about to finish the fourth act and dive into the final act. As for the spinoff, I am planning a series of stand alone adventure novels set about 60years after the events of The Imperial War. This series won’t be as heavy as this trilogy, in terms of themes, and will feature a very robust dieslepunk/jazz cat atmosphere. The title of the first book is Duffy Lawerence and the Skychasers of Tinker Town.
AA: What elements did you specifically include so readers could feel The Spark history?
HGH: I have long been inspired by the works of Tolkien and [George] Martin. When writing The Spark I tried to find moments or avenues where I could inject a touch of the world’s history so the reader could develop a sense of scope and wonder.
AA: How long did it take to write, and rewrite, The Spark? What were the deadlines and publishing schedule like for you?
HGH: I started the first draft in 2011 and finished in 2014 when the eBook went live. The summer of 2015 saw the print edition released. My schedule was, and always will be, very flexible as I try to maintain the day job and my family.
We’ll pause here in chatting with H.G. Howell, Join us next time when he talks about comparisons and the writing process.
You can support H.G. and our community by getting your copy of The Spark here.